DIY Money Saving Tips

As I tackle one DIY project to the next, I find more and more ways to save money and I'd like to share these ideas with you.

It's a myth that tradesman always get the best prices for materials

In a hurry? Jump straight to:

HOW TO FIND STUFF CHEAPER

If you see something you like online from a large superstore, say B&Q for example. Try entering the product description into the likes of Ebay or Amazon.

I did this with the drawers for my desk, which were the Premium Soft Close drawers from B&Q.

B&Q drawers on their website for £62

On the B&Q website, they're up for £62 each. However, after searching for these drawers on Amazon, I found these:

same drawers on amazon for less money, so saving money

Same drawers, still sold by B&Q, but called by a slightly different name. At £18.99 each, I saved £43.01 per drawer.

HOW TO CREATE AN AUTOMATED ALERT FOR PRICE CHANGES

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon prices change all the time, almost on a daily basis. Price fluctuations can be huge. Here's how to monitor them with little effort

Let's be honest, none of us want to watch Amazon on a daily basis. Thankfully, there's a handy website that'll do it for us, for free!

Check out camelcamelcamel.com (Opens in new tab)

This site watches prices of specific Amazon products. Let's run through an example. Take my recommended SDS drill, the Bosch Professional GBH 2-20 D Corded 240 V Rotary Hammer Drill with SDS Plus.

Here it is on Amazon (Opens in new tab)

Take the URL of the product on Amazon, and paste it into the bar on  camelcamelcamel.com (Opens in new tab)

I did this in late Oct 2018, this is the graph that popped up:

graph showing the price of the bosch sds drill fluctuate over time
Over the years, prices have altered by as much as 35%

If I needed one of these drills, I'd probably go ahead and buy one straight away. It looks as though the price won't fall down much more, if at all.

However, if the graph looked more like this:

graph shows cost of bosch mitre saw over time

And, I didn't need the item right away, I'd probably hold out and wait for it to drop in price.

By the way, this is for thBosch Professional GCM 12 GDL Corded 240 V Mitre Saw (B01L4P1L9I). Currently on Amazon.co.uk for £829.31.

We don't want to be constantly checking Amazon until it drops its price, so we'll set up an automated alert to notify us when it does drop.

How to create an alert for a price drop

Using the same website (www.camelcamelcamel.com), and after submitting the URL of the mitre saw, the following also appears:

boxes on website to submit values for tools to watch their prices

Using the mitre saw example above, I would estimate a fairly safe lower price to aim for, let's go for £750. It's been down as far as £693 in the past 6 months:

chart showing price cj=hanges of bosch tool over 6 month period

Enter £750 and your email in the alerts bit:

tracking of tools price confirmed as £750

Click "start tracking" and you'll get a confirmation email. You're all set.

HOW TO CREATE AN AUTOMATED ALERT FOR DISCOUNTS

Google Alerts

Watching prices is one trick, but this doesn't capture all the discounts, such as the sort that require a discount code.

Suppliers sometimes announce price reductions in the form of discounts, which usually require a discount code to be used. Automated price tracking don't necessarily utilise this form of discount, so there's another tool we can use here.

That tool is Google Alerts, and it's totally customisable. I'll run you through the process.

Step 1 - Type into Google - "google alerts", and click on the relevant link

google search result for "google alerts"

Once you've clicked on either of these, you'll be taken to the following interface:

the google alerts page with a bar at the top where you can input your desired alert

I need some radiators, and I have found some I like on the Victorian Plumbing website, but they don't appear to have a sale on at the moment. Therefore, I'll do a quick Google search to see if they've historically had sales or discount events in the past, not all companies do so it's worth a check.

I find some out-of-date sales discount codes (from 3rd party websites) so I now know it's something they do.

I enter the following information in the Google search console: "Victorian plumbing sale" and set the following options:

options for google alerts, such as frequency of notification etc

Click "Create Alert" and I'm all set. I'll get notified when someone or something comments about this online. If the frequency is too much, either reduce the frequency in the "How Often" box or set a more specific search term. Such as "victorian plumbing discount code". Or, as we're nearing Christmas, maybe "victorian plumbing winter warmer", or "victorian plumbing christmas sale". You get the idea!

You can set up as many Alerts as you like.

GET CASHBACK ON PURCHASES

There are 2 ways to get cashback and I'll show you them here.

Not long ago I needed some radiators. After searhing online, I found some from Victorian Plumbing. In total the bits came to £977.41. I didn't need them straight away so I set up a Google alert, that's the tip I give further up the page by the way. Once the notification came in that they were running a discount, I went for it.

Using a discount code, I saved £130 off the original price, bringing the total to £847.41

Using another discount code, I got a further £79.95 off the price, bringing the total to £767.46

I paid using a Credit Card offering 1% cash back, which comes to £7.67

And finally,I clicked through to the website from Topcashback, which offers 5.25% cash back, itself amounting to £40.29.

The original price for the radiators was £977.41, I got them for £719.50. A total saving of £257.91

cash back screenshot for dity mterials from victorian plumbing

CHECK FOR 2nd HAND GOODS FIRST

It's common for materials to be left over after a project and it's easy to find them.

I decided to go for Basalt tiles for the flooring in my downstairs loo. I found some 60cm x 40cm x 10mm thick ones online, but they were pricey at £80 per square metre. After a quick search on Gumtree, I found someone selling off 10.5m2 of the same stuff for £115, putting them at £11 per square metre.

picture showing newly installed toilet on basalt tiles with lights shining below the skirting
Basalt tile flooring in my downstairs loo

Don't forget to check on Ebay too.

OTHER WAYS TO SAVE MONEY

And finally, the last few bits of money saving tips:

  • I write a lot about the benefits of doing DIY yourself, including the amount of money saved compared to employing a tradesman. You can find this information in my DIY Spending Reports. At the point of writing this article, I've saved an estimated £16875, no insignificant figure.
  • It is almost always possible to negotiate with building suppliers and hire companies. If you have a lot of DIY to do over time, make this clear to the supplier and they will almost always put on a discount. Sometimes, if you have a lot of work to do, such as a complete renovation or an extension, they will open an account with you. This can give you up to 2 months interest free credit and generally opens the door to trade discounts.

Thanks for taking the time to read this how to on saving money, I hope you manage to save lots. If you have a money saving tip you'd like to share, feel free to subscribe to my email list using the form below, and reply by email to me.

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